Before we start, yes, I know Apple doesn't need my advice. It's a really big company, with lots of people working there who are way smarter than me. It's the most valuable company on Earth largely because it has figured out what its customers want and how to consistently deliver it to them. That, among other reasons, is why I use Apple products.
It's why I use an iMac, a MacBook Pro, an iPad, an iPhone, and an Apple Watch. In most cases, for most people, they just work. I also have just about every service Apple offers, including Apple Music, News+, TV+, and iCloud. I still have a .mac email address, that's how long I've used Apple's cloud services.
That doesn't mean, however, that there aren't a few things I wish the company did better. And I'm not just talking about the fact that every time they release a new product, if you don't order one the second it goes live, you end up waiting way too long for it to arrive. It's hard to penalize a company for making things people want. Then again, isn't Tim Cook supposed to be the supply chain guru?
Yes, this list will probably seem like nitpicking to some. But the reality is that when a company does so many things right, you come to expect the best from them. In these cases, Apple is clearly not delivering the best. We should expect more.
Here are the five things Apple needs to put at the top of its bug list:
1. Apple's Services
Here's the thing: Apple Music is fine. But it isn't great. It certainly isn't better than Spotify. The same is true for Apple TV+, which no one is arguing is better than Netflix or Disney+. It has some great shows, but as an overall service, it lags far behind its peers.
That's true of pretty much all of Apple's services.
Sure, they are more convenient because they have the advantage of being so well integrated into your device, but they aren't best in class. Take iCloud, for example. It does a lot of great things like sync settings across apps and devices. It even automatically stores all your photos and backs up your devices, making it easy to transfer information or set up a new iPhone.
However, when it comes to normal file storage and sharing, no one uses iCloud as their primary service, they use Dropbox or Google Cloud. Both of those services actually have better sharing capabilities built into macOS than iCloud. It doesn't have to be that way. Apple could make all of these best in class, it just hasn't.
I'm using a 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it's probably the best laptop I've ever used, but it's not my favorite. Why? Because the TouchBar is still a thing. Apple keeps sticking that narrow glass touchscreen on its Pro laptops, and I have no idea why. I've never met anyone who thinks that it's a better experience than the row of function keys that used to exist.
My wife has a MacBook Air, and I'm actually jealous that she has a normal, functional keyboard, instead of some futuristic idea of one that I never use. Oh, and it crashes. Nothing about your keyboard should ever crash.
Speaking of hardware, why is the webcam on my laptop so terrible? I'm sure there are all kinds of technical reasons, like the fact that the lid is so thin. But it's Apple. I'm pretty sure all those smart people I mentioned could figure it out if they thought it was important. Sure, they gave a better webcam to the iMac (though even that is still only 1080p). Now do the laptops. Please.
4. Email Apps
I know that many people would like to do away with email entirely, but the reality is that it's still the most universal way to communicate with people. You'd think then, that Apple would put some thought into the email apps on the Mac and iPhone. Honestly, if Apple would just enhance the share sheet, so you could integrate services like Things, Asana, or Trello, it would make a huge difference for power users.
As a result, I use third-party email apps, like Spark, on both devices. I've been testing the new Mail.app on macOS 11, Big Sur, but it still doesn't have basic features like smart inbox, snooze, or sharing. Maybe people at Apple just send each other Messages?
5. App Store
Finally, let's talk about the App Store. I mean, there's plenty to talk about. But honestly, I don't care about the 30 percent commission on in-app purchases. Maybe I should, but I'm not a developer, so I don't. Perhaps some of the services I use are a little more expensive than they would otherwise be. But I can't see developers suddenly lowering their prices if Apple stopped taking a cut.
No, my issue is that the App Store provides a really poor user experience. For example, it's absurd that you can't sign up for Netflix or Spotify in the app. The same goes for the fact that you can't buy books within the Kindle app. Even worse, those apps are prohibited from telling you how you can make those purchases. Is anyone arguing that the experience for the user is better as a result?
Ultimately, that's the worst thing about Apple. It is so good at creating great user experiences that when it falls short, it stands out. I still love the products. And arguably, Apple is still better at most of these things than just about every other company. It's just not great.
It's Apple though, so I'm expecting insanely great.